GenreComedy, Drama Music directorThe Phoenix Foundation WriterTaika Waititi LanguageEnglishMaori
Release date25 March 2010 (2010-03-25) Initial releaseMarch 25, 2010 (New Zealand) CastJames Rolleston (Boy), Craig Hall (Mr. Langston), Taika Waititi (Alamein), Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu (Rocky), Ei Kura Albert (Chardonnay's Friend), Ngapaki Emery (Mum) Similar moviesSpirited Away, Once Were Warriors, To Kill a Mockingbird, Z for Zachariah, Babe: Pig in the City, Out of Africa
TaglineSummer, Girls, Gangs, Drugs ... its not easy being eleven.
Boy official trailer
Boy is a 2010 New Zealand coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Taika Waititi. The film stars James Rolleston, Waititi, Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu, Moerangi Tihore, and Cherilee Martin. It is produced by Cliff Curtis, Ainsley Gardiner and Emanuel Michael and financed by the New Zealand Film Commission. In New Zealand, the film eclipsed previous records for a first week's box office takings for a local production. Boy went on to become the highest grossing New Zealand film at the local box office. The soundtrack to Boy features New Zealand artists such as The Phoenix Foundation, who previously provided music for Waititi's film Eagle vs Shark.
The year is 1984. Alamein/"Boy" is an 11-year-old boy who lives in Waihau Bay, in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand, on a small farm with his grandmother, little brother Rocky, and several other cousins. Boy spends his time dreaming of Michael Jackson and his estranged father, Alamein, who has since left him and Rocky. Boy continually creates stories about his father such as him escaping prison and taking him to see Michael Jackson in concert. Even though Boy continues to believe this, his classmates never believe him anyway, which starts a fight between him and another classmate, Kingi, and his older brother Holden. When Boy's grandmother leaves for a funeral one day, she leaves Boy in charge of the house and his brother and cousins; Boy is then surprised to see his father and two other men arrive at the farm.
Boy and the others are happy to see Alamein return, but Rocky is displeased at their father's sudden reappearance. It seems at first that Alamein is here to finally be in his sons' lives but it is soon revealed that he is actually back to find a bag of money he had buried before being arrested by the police. With his patched gang, the 'Crazy Horses' which is just him and two friends, he begins to dig up the money in a nearby field he had buried it at but has trouble remembering the exact spot. Boy sees this and offers to help and Alamein soon decides to hang out with Boy and be a father. The two have fun such as going on drives in Alamein's car and getting revenge on Boy's bully and the bully's brother. Alamein has even convinced Boy (and others) to call him Shogun, instead of Dad. Meanwhile, Alamein has no luck with digging up the money and decides to go in the business of marijuana after he discovers Boy brought some from helping his friends pick.
Boy continues to dig for the money and one day he successfully finds the treasure but is overcome with the amount. This leads Boy to treat his friends with ice blocks and lollies from his aunt's store but Alamein comes and angrily questions and hits Boy. Boy's Aunt Gracey stops him and yells at Alamein to leave Boy alone and he soon leaves with Boy standing shamed. Boy later visits back at the farm to check on the spot where he hid the money; his goat's pen. He is devastated though to find the money eaten by the goat. Rocky and Alamein continue to dig for the hidden money, making Boy uneasy. Boy then leads his father to the stalks of marijuana who gathers all of it to use and sell. Later, Alamein and his gang go to a local hotel to celebrate. Whilst waiting in his father's car, Boy picks up Alamein's blunt and pretends to smoke it. Boy then sees his friend, Dynasty, who had previously brought all her friends to the marijuana, sitting in a car with a black eye. Then, Alamein and his gang get into a confrontation with the real gang whose marijuana Alamein had stolen. At first Boy imagines his dad successfully fighting the gang, until reality comes back to him and he sees the gang beat Alamein.
Alamein's men decide to leave him and take the car as his plans continue to fail. Boy starts drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana due to his stress and that he finally understands that his father is not as great as he thought. After getting over his stress and sadness, he returns home to clean the house and put his cousins to bed. Alamein sits up depressed in the barn and is visited by Rocky and finally sits to comfort him. Just then, Boy comes in and begins to hit his father in anger but Alamein stops his crying son who then goes back to the house.
Boy and Rocky visit their mother's grave the next day to find Alamein sitting there, staring at the grave. The final scene of the film shows the boys silently joining Alamein as they sit around the grave, where Rocky asks Alamein, "How was Japan?"
James Rolleston as Boy, a Māori kid who is a huge fan of Michael Jackson, Boy dreams of becoming rich and going to the city with his father, brother and his pet goat. His real name is Alamein, like his father.
Te Aho Aho Eketone-Whitu as Rocky, Boy's younger brother who believes he has super powers. He's very shy, likely because of his mother's death during his birth.
Taika Waititi as Alamein, Boy and Rocky's Father; an ex-convict who wants to be the leader of a biker gang, and comes back to Waihau Bay to find his lost money.
Moerangi Tihore as Dynasty, Dallas' sister and one of Boy's best friends. She is the daughter of a biker, and seems to have feelings for Boy.
Cherilee Martin as Kelly, Boy's same-age cousin, who lives with him in the same house, with her three kid sisters.
RickyLee Waipuka-Russell as Chardonnay, a teenage girl that Boy has a crush on, and who totally ignores him.
Haze Reweti as Dallas, a long-haired boy and brother of Dynasty, who is one of Boy's best friends.
Maakariini Butler as Murray, one of Boy's friends from school.
Rajvinder Eria as Tane, Boy's Indian friend, who is always alongside Murray and Dallas.
Manihera Rangiuaia as Kingi, a school bully who often bullies Boy. He wears a Michael Jackson "Thriller" jacket.
Darcy Ray Flavell-Hudson as Holden, Kingi's older brother, who also bullies Boy but comes to fear Boy's father Alamein and comes to admire him.
Rachel House as Aunty Gracey, the sister of Boy's deceased mother, who owns a store in front of the sea.
Craig Hall as Mr Langston, the Pākehā school principal, who studied with Boy's parents.
Waihoroi Shortland as Weirdo, a strange fat man who lives near the bridge, and appears to always be looking for something. He seems to be childish and inoffensive.
Cohen Holloway as Chuppa, a Pākehā friend of Alamein, who is an ex-convict and very foolish, along with Juju.
Pana Hema Taylor as Juju, the other of Alamein's friends. He has a strange haircut, and like Chuppa is always getting himself in trouble alongside the kids.
Mavis Paenga as Nan, Boy's grandmother and Alamein's mother. She travels to someone's funeral for two weeks, leaving Boy in charge. She calls the children "My Mokos", which is short for mokopuna, the Māori word for grandchildren.
Waititi started developing Boy soon after finishing the short film Two Cars, One Night; and it first emerged as a film called Choice. The project was accepted into the Sundance Writer's Lab in 2005, where Waititi workshopped it with script writers Frank Pierson, Susan Shilliday, David Benioff and Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal. Instead of making Boy his first film as a director, Waititi went on to make oddball romance Eagle vs Shark, and continued to develop the screenplay over the next three years.
When the script was finally ready there was a small window of opportunity in which to make it. Waititi dropped the title Choice because he felt it would not translate to international audiences, and the film was retitled The Volcano. "It was a big pain about this kid’s potential to be bigger than he is or just bloom or explode," said Waititi. "So it was a character in the script as well. When we were shooting the film it was still called Volcano and during the editing. We ended up cutting a lot of the stuff out."
Waititi wanted to shoot the film in the place where he partly grew up, Waihau Bay. The story was set in summer, but it was challenging to shoot in the height of summer due to the area's popularity as a fishing and holiday destination. The film features the maize fields and the maize is harvested from late April. James Rolleston was not initially cast as the lead role of Boy. Another actor was already in place when Rolleston turned up for a costume fitting as an extra. Waititi gave him an audition and after reviewing the film clips, Rolleston was offered the role two days before shooting began.
Hine e Hine - The Phoenix Foundation
Poi E - Patea Maori Club
Pass the Dutchie - Musical Youth
One Million Rainbows - The Phoenix Foundation
French Letter - Herbs
Dragons & Demons - Herbs
Forget It - The Phoenix Foundation
Aku Raukura (Disco Mix) - Patea Maori Club
Out on the Street - Alastair Riddell
Hine e Hine - St Josephs Maori Girls Choir
Here We Are - The Phoenix Foundation
Paki-o-Matariki - The Ratana Senior Concert Party
Mum - Prince Tui Teka
E Te Atua - St Josephs Maori Girls Choir
Karu - Prince Tui Teka
Flock of Hearts - The Phoenix Foundation
Boy premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival on 22 January 2010 and competed in the "World Cinema – Dramatic" category. Boy was theatrically released on March 25, 2010 in New Zealand. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011 by Paramount Home Media Distribution.
Based on 65 reviews collected by Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an overall approval rating from critics of 86%, with an average score of 7.2/10. Peter Calder of The New Zealand Herald gave the film five out of five stars. He praised the performances by the three main actors and said "it's hard to praise too highly the pitch-perfect tone of this movie."
On release in New Zealand the film topped the box office receipts for the week, earning more on its opening day than any previous New Zealand film. The film grossed nearly $900,000 in its first seven days, beating Alice in Wonderland and homegrown pictures Whale Rider and The World's Fastest Indian. It also climbed above international animated-fantasy hit How to Train Your Dragon and mythical action flick Clash of the Titans. Boy then went on to become the highest grossing New Zealand film to date on its own soil, taking over The World's Fastest Indian which had held the position for five years.
AFI Fest Audience Award - Best International Feature Film - Taika Waititi - Won
Asia Pacific Screen Award - Best Children's Feature Film - Ainsley Gardiner, Cliff Curtis, Emanuel Michael and Merata Mita - Nominated
Berlin International Film Festival Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk Grand Prix - Best Feature Film - Taika Waititi - Won
Melbourne International Film Festival Most Popular Feature Film - Taika Waititi - Won
Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize - World Cinema - Dramatic - Taika Waititi - Nominated
Sydney Film Festival Audience Award - Best Feature Film - Taika Waititi - Won
New Zealand Film and TV Awards - 13 nominations, seven wins including Best Feature Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay